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Naïve, Resolute or Sophisticated? A Study of Dynamic Decision Making

  • John D Hey
  • Gianna Lotito

Dynamically inconsistent decision makers have to decide, implicitly or explicitly, what to do about their dynamic inconsistency. Economic theorists have identified three possible responses – to act naively (thus ignoring the dynamic inconsistency), to act resolutely (not letting their inconsistency affect their behaviour) or to act sophisticatedly (hence taking into account their inconsistency). We use data from a unique experiment (which observes both decisions and evaluations) in order to distinguish these three possibilities. We find that the majority of subjects are either naïve or resolute (with slightly more being naïve) but very few are sophisticated. These results have important implications for predicting the behaviour of people in dynamic situations.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of York in its series Discussion Papers with number 07/03.

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Date of creation: Feb 2007
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Handle: RePEc:yor:yorken:07/03
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  1. Hammond, Peter J, 1989. "Consistent Plans, Consequentialism, and Expected Utility," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(6), pages 1445-49, November.
  2. John Hey, 2005. "Why We Should Not Be Silent About Noise," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 8(4), pages 325-345, December.
  3. Peter Moffatt & Simon Peters, 2001. "Testing for the Presence of a Tremble in Economic Experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 4(3), pages 221-228, December.
  4. John Hey & Jinkwon Lee, 2005. "Do subjects remember the past?," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(1), pages 9-18.
  5. John Hey & Jinkwon Lee, 2005. "Do Subjects Separate (or Are They Sophisticated)?," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 8(3), pages 233-265, September.
  6. Matthew Rabin, 1998. "Psychology and Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(1), pages 11-46, March.
  7. Christopher Harris & David Laibson, 1999. "Dynamic Choices of Hyperbolic Consumers," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1886, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  8. Hammond, Peter J, 1977. "Dynamic Restrictions on Metastatic Choice," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 44(176), pages 337-50, November.
  9. Sarin, Rakesh & Wakker, Peter P, 1998. "Dynamic Choice and NonExpected Utility," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 17(2), pages 87-119, November.
  10. Beggs, S. & Cardell, S. & Hausman, J., 1981. "Assessing the potential demand for electric cars," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 1-19, September.
  11. Cubitt, Robin P & Starmer, Chris & Sugden, Robert, 1998. "Dynamic Choice and the Common Ratio Effect: An Experimental Investigation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(450), pages 1362-80, September.
  12. Chris Starmer, 2000. "Developments in Non-expected Utility Theory: The Hunt for a Descriptive Theory of Choice under Risk," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(2), pages 332-382, June.
  13. Hammond, Peter J, 1976. "Changing Tastes and Coherent Dynamic Choice," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(1), pages 159-73, February.
  14. Quiggin, John, 1982. "A theory of anticipated utility," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 323-343, December.
  15. Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1992. " Advances in Prospect Theory: Cumulative Representation of Uncertainty," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 5(4), pages 297-323, October.
  16. Hammond, P.J. & , ., 1987. "Consequentialist foundations for expected utility," CORE Discussion Papers 1987016, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  17. Machina, Mark J, 1989. "Dynamic Consistency and Non-expected Utility Models of Choice under Uncertainty," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 27(4), pages 1622-68, December.
  18. John D. Hey & Massimo Paradiso, 2006. "Preferences Over Temporal Frames In Dynamic Decision Problems: An Experimental Investigation," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 74(2), pages 123-137, 03.
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